How Big Is Our Galaxy?

“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” –Douglas Adams Here inside the Milky Way galaxy, all you need are some dark skies and a decent set … Read more

Practically Everything Leaves Something Behind

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people … Read more

Weekend Diversion: And Here Come the Robot Zombies…

“Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.” –Kyle Reese, the Terminator

Sure, they may look innocent now.  Maybe you think they’ll even live peacefully with us and create nothing but beauty, as Florence + the Machine might have you believe with their song,

Cosmic Love.

But the apocalypse will soon be upon us.  And I think that this cute fella may be just the thing that ushers it in.

NAO robot + capabilities
NAO robot, courtesy of Aldebaran Robotics, retrieved from UNC-Wilmington.

The NAO robot, made by Aldebaran Robotics, is one of the most advanced humanoid robots out there.  Yes, it’s programmable, it can do choreographed movements, it can respond to stimuli, and it can change what it’s doing dependent on its surroundings.  

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What Lies in the great Pinwheel Galaxy?

“This seems to be the law of progress in everything we do; it moves along a spiral rather than a perpendicular; we seem to be actually going out of the way, and yet it turns out that we were really moving upward all the time.” –Frances Willard As spring gives way to summer here in … Read more

Even the Universe Undergoes a Great Migration

“As always on this boulevard, the faces were young, coming annually in an endless migration from every country, every continent, to alight here once in the long journey of their lives.” –Brian Moore

Even the Universe experiences a “great migration” every now and again, where giant, massive globules of interstellar gas are blown thousands of light years across the galaxy by their hot, star-forming surroundings.

(Image credit: R. Jay GaBany of

And if I do say so myself, in the case of the Cone Nebula, it looks like the classic “V” pattern that migrating birds engage in.  Of course, there are no birds here; this appears to be a gas globule in a dusty, hydrogen-rich region that’s experiencing intense heating and evaporation.

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It's supposed to hurt to think about it!

“But some of the greatest achievements in philosophy could only be compared with taking up some books which seemed to belong together, and putting them on different shelves; nothing more being final about their positions than that they no longer lie side by side. The onlooker who doesn’t know the difficulty of the task might … Read more

Umm… is this thing on?

“The doctors realized in retrospect that even though most of these dead had also suffered from burns and blast effects, they had absorbed enough radiation to kill them. The rays simply destroyed body cells – caused their nuclei to degenerate and broke their walls.” –John Hersey Everyone (well, almost everyone) recognizes that radiation is bad … Read more